The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade has stated that the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development’s annual meetings has helped realise the mandate on the economic diversification of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
She made this known in Abuja during the opening ceremony of the 4th edition of the council’s meeting yesterday (December 5, 2022), themed “Realigning the Minerals and Metals Industry to Address the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic”.
Akinlade told the participants that the ministry is the only MDA that met its revenue target in 2020, following the last council meeting before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Also, he said while the palliative funds resulting from the ravaging pandemic were being deployed to other uses in most MDAs, the ministry embarked on economic sustainability projects to stimulate economic activities across the six geopolitical zones, create sustainable wealth.
She listed some of these projects as the kaolin processing plant in Bauchi (northeast), gold souk in Kano (northwest), gold processing plant in Kogi (north-central), lead-zinc processing plant in Ebonyi (southeast), gemstones trading platform in Oyo state (south-west), barite processing plant in Cross River (south-south) to mention but a few.
Also, she enumerated some of the major economic achievements of the last national council to include increase in revenue generation from N5.4 billion in 2020 to N7.8 billion in 2021, post-COVID-19, which surpassed the projections for the period; Improved rating of the ministry in the anti-corruption and transparency compliance index from 26.5 per cent in 2020 to 76.6 per cent in 2021; Completion of phase 1 of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) which has produced bankable geosciences data as a result of which investments have started flowing into the sector.
Others include Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the Nigerian Mineral Value Chain Policy, which will ensure local processing of mineral ores; Obtaining the FEC’s approval for the transaction advisory services for the resuscitation and full operation of the Ajaokuta project which is long overdue and the MCO EMC+ which enables miners get their mining license from the comfort of their homes; Rehabilitation of equipment at the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) Itakpe and training and provision of startup packs for over 200 foundry owners and other skills in the metals sub-sector.
The permanent secretary stated that the ministry was able to achieve this with the unflinching support of the Buhari administration and stakeholders in the minerals and metals value chain.
She further urged participants of the council to proffer better solutions for the sector.
In his welcome remarks earlier, the director of planning, research and statistics, Mr. Ken Onwubiko (FCIA) reminded stakeholders that the essence of the council is a platform well structured for stakeholders in the sector to converge for cross-determination of ideas, sharing of experiences, formulate and or review policies as well as proffer solutions to the challenges being faced by the sector.
Present at the council were the ministers of mines, state commissioners and permanent secretaries relevant to the minerals and mining sector, government agencies, relevant departments and agencies, mining operators, the Miners Associations of Nigeria (MAN) and other stakeholders contributing to the mining value chain.
Also, the director stated that the council meeting will be conducted in two sessions after the opening ceremony – the technical session which would be a two-day interactive session to be attended by all permanent secretaries responsible for mineral resources in states, as well as their accompanying directors and other stakeholders to be chaired by the ministry’s permanent secretary.
The second will be the executive sessions which would hold on the third day and will comprise all commissioners responsible for mineral resources under the chairmanship of the Minister. The session will review the recommendations of technical sessions and issue a communique at the end of the meeting.
He told participants that the ministry had received a total of 31 memoranda on the three thematic areas from relevant stakeholders which would be thoroughly reviewed and implementable recommendations made.
Other stakeholders who spoke at the opening ceremony were the commissioner of mineral resources developments, Kastina State, Dr. Abdullahi A. Imam, FCNR, who spoke on behalf of other state commissioners and acting president of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN)Mr Musa Muhammad.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press and public relations signed by Ijomah Opia said the permanent secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Olusade Adesola, who is the chief host for this year’s council, also commended the ministry’s steadfastness and visible achievements which motivated the FCT administration to establish the mines and metals department.